Customs officers found 560 pounds of methamphetamine and cocaine, worth nearly $4 million, cemented inside several quartz boulders Monday morning at a cargo crossing at the Tecate Port of Entry in East County, authorities said.
Officers broke open the boulders around 10:45 a.m. Monday after becoming suspicious of a big rig hauling what its manifest listed as “multiple tons of beach pebbles and stones,” according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
Cemented inside the quartz boulders, officers found 229 packages wrapped in black electrical tape, officials said. That included 104 packages of methamphetamine weighing 337 pounds, and 125 packages of cocaine weighing 223 pounds.
Combined, the drugs had an estimated street value of roughly $3.9 million, officials said.
“Hard to believe, but this isn’t the first time CBP officers in California have had to actually break open rocks or other items to get at the narcotics that drug trafficking organizations have hidden inside,” Jose Haro, officer in charge of the Tecate Port of Entry, said in a news release. “Our officers are well-trained to notice discrepancies to stop drug shipments like this from making their way into our communities.”
Officers seized the big rig, the drugs and the rock shipment, officials said.
On Sunday night, U.S. Border Patrol officers detained three men in the Tecate area who had allegedly crossed the border illegally carrying backpacks loaded with methamphetamine, including one man who abandoned his pack while running across Campo Road.
A passing vehicle struck the backpack on the highway, spewing a white substance across the roadway, Border Patrol officials said in a separate news release. Officers eventually detained all three men and determined they were Mexican citizens in the U.S. unlawfully.
The methamphetamine that was not scattered across Campo Road weighed nearly 90 pounds with an estimated street value of more than $223,000, officials said.
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